King Charles and other senior members of the royal family have walked behind Queen Elizabeth’s coffin in a solemn procession from Buckingham Palace.
In scenes reminiscent of their mother Princess Diana’s last journey from the palace, Princes Harry and William stood side by side along the route to Westminster Hall.
It was a symbolic display of unity as William, 40, now the Prince of Wales, and Harry, 37, the Duke of Sussex, reportedly barely spoke to each other after a bitter argument in recent years.
The new Princess of Wales, Kate, and Harry’s wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, traveled in separate cars. Queen Consort Camilla was also driven to the ceremony.
Kate wore the diamond and pearl leaf brooch that had belonged to the Queen.
The piece features three large pearls in the center of a leaf decorated with pavement, and had been loaned to Kate by the monarch in the past.
The princess is also said to wear pearl earrings that belonged to her namesake Diana, Princess of Wales, for the service at Westminster Hall on Wednesday.
Londoners stop to say goodbye
Huge crowds gathered in central London to watch the Queen being taken from the palace to Parliament as artillery guns fired salutes and Big Ben rang out, the latest in a series of ceremonies as the UK mourns the 96-year-old monarch who died last week.
- Click here to watch the service at Westminster Hall
Reclining on a carriage, covered with the Royal Standard flag and with the Imperial State Crown on a pillow atop a floral wreath, the coffin containing Elizabeth’s body was moved in a slow, somber procession from her London home to the Historic Hall.
It will remain there for four days.
Directly behind it walked Charles and his siblings, Anne, Andrew and Edward.
A military band played funeral marches and soldiers in scarlet uniforms led the procession, with the gun carriage drawn by the King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, as it moved slowly through central London, where many roads were closed to traffic.
Cannons were firing at Hyde Park every minute, while Parliament’s famous Big Ben bell also rang at 60-second intervals.
The crowd stood in hushed silence as they watched the procession, then erupted into spontaneous applause when it was over.
Some threw flowers.
When the procession reached Westminster Hall, a medieval building with origins dating back to 1097 and the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster that houses the British Parliament, the coffin was carried inside by soldiers of the Grenadier Guards and placed on a catafalque surrounded by candles .
A short service followed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual head of the Anglican Church.
Later, the public will be able to walk in in a steady stream, 24 hours a day, for four days of lying in state that will last until the morning of the funeral on September 19.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said Elizabeth had three key roles in her life: head of the family, head of the nation and head of state.
Wednesday was the moment when the coffin was transferred from the family to the state.
“I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that, or a queen like that,” said Paul Wiltshire, 65, among the crowd before the procession.
“An end of an era.”
People started waiting in line late Tuesday, sleeping on the street in the rain, to be among the first to pass the coffin, and a queue of more than a mile has already formed.
“We didn’t even think about it,” said Glyn Norris, 63, a little rain wouldn’t deter her.
“That was my queen.”
Among those in attendance, some were there to represent aging parents, others to witness history, and many to thank a woman who, after she took the throne in 1952, still held official government meetings just two days before her arrival. died.
The government has warned that the queue could stretch up to 10 miles along the south bank of the River Thames, passing landmarks such as the gigantic London Eye Ferris wheel and a reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.
Culture Minister Michelle Donelan said some people may have to queue for up to 30 hours to get past the coffin for Monday’s funeral.
“She is an icon of icons,” said grieving Chris Imafidon.
“Out of respect, I have to endure this campsite in any case.”
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, joked to people in line: “We honor two great British traditions, love the Queen and love a queue.”
As many as 750,000 mourners are expected to walk through Westminster Hall to pay their last respects.